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The Wealth of Book Nation 2012

Forbes magazine announced their annual list of the world’s highest paid authors today – a list that I seem to be obsessed with, as this is the third year in a row that I have made mention of it on this site. “Why do you care, Seth?” you might ask. And I would say, “Well, friend, I’m glad you asked.”

For one, there’s #1 – who needs no introduction on this website, his home-away-from-home, such as it is. Yes, once again, JPatt has dug his ragged claws into the mountaintop and is hurling fiery copies of his books at the losers below him. He made $55 million more than Stephen King last year. Stephen freakin’ King, people. Think about that.

For another, decidedly less catty reason, I think these author paydays are indicative of a remarkably healthy book industry – something that I, for one, have sort of lost sight of in the face of the eBook revolution and the ongoing Amazonian War. (See, unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to buy their books from “bookstores” anymore.) A lot of these may be shitty books, but it’s pretty great that people still look to the printed word – in a variety of formats – for entertainment. That said, here’s the list, followed by the requisite snarkiness:

One for the Money = free bitches for Beethoven!

1. James Patterson ($94 million) up $10 million from last year and $24 mil from 2010.
2. Stephen King ($39 million)
3. Janet Evanovich ($33 million)
4. John Grisham ($26 million)
5. Jeff Kinney ($25 million)
6. Bill O’Reilly ($24 million)
7. Nora Roberts ($23 million)
8. Danielle Steel ($23 million)
9. Suzanne Collins ($20 million)
10. Dean Koontz ($19 million)
11. J.K. Rowling ($17 million)
12. George R.R. Martin ($15 million)
13. Stephenie Meyer ($14 million)
14. Ken Follett ($14 million)
15. Rick Riordan ($13 million)

The snark: that’s right, Nicholas Sparks has fallen off the list from last year, poor l’il fella. His ego must be starving to death. And who the hell is paying Janet Evanovich $33 million? (Up from $22 million in 2011.) Jesus. (I also think it’s hilarious that she made the same amount as spoiled, crybaby Yankee 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez.) Looking at the list as a whole, it seems that George R.R. Martin needs to renegotiate – his Game of Thrones trilogy has now sold over 8 million copies and still Dean Koontz made more money than he did last year. Dean Koontz? Oh, and Danielle Steel has an estimated net worth of close to 600 million dollars – which kinda puts JPatt’s paltry $250 million to shame. (I’m not entirely sure what he does with all his money – hookers and Courvoisier?)

All in all, I think I’m more shocked that Bill O’Reilly made that much just from his book sales. Talk about signs of the apocalypse.


2 comments on “The Wealth of Book Nation 2012

  1. Christine
    August 11, 2012

    God, what the eff is wrong with this world?

  2. Lela Stepanoska
    September 6, 2013

    Books aren't selling as well as they used to – TV, you know. But that doesn't mean some people are making top bank in the publishing world. Here are the five highest-paid authors working today. Even if you're illiterate you'll probably recognize these names.

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2012 by in Forbes, George RR Martin, James Patterson, JK Rowling, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer.
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